Bills S Whitner would welcome Vick in Buffalo

BY foxsports • November 9, 2009

If Tony Dungy believes Michael Vick would be a good fit in Buffalo, Donte Whitner is on board. Confident Vick can regain his once-dynamic form, the Bills safety said Monday he would encourage his team to pursue Vick if the Eagles - who hold a $5.2 million option on the backup quarterback next season - decide to release Vick in the offseason. In noting he was a proponent of the Bills pursuing Vick since before he signed with Philadelphia in August, Whitner said he's more convinced Buffalo can use him next season. Without specifically naming Bills starter Trent Edwards or backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, Whitner noted that players - himself included - are replaceable if they can't get the job done. "If you're not getting the job done, then they're going to bring in other players. It's a competition thing," Whitner said. "You bring in other guys that can get the job done that can help you win. I would welcome bringing in Michael Vick." The Bills (3-5), whose offense ranks among the NFL's worst this season, returned to practice Monday after a four-day break during their bye, and prepare to play at Tennessee this weekend. Whitner's comment came a day after Dungy linked Vick and the Bills during NBC's NFL pre-game show. Dungy, the former Colts coach who serves as Vick's adviser, referred to Buffalo as "a dark horse" candidate to land the quarterback if he becomes available. Dungy also divulged for the first time that the Bills had previously expressed interest in signing the player last summer when Vick was searching for a team after serving 18 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring. "They talked originally. There was some communication there," Dungy said. The Bills have not publicly indicated any interest in signing Vick. Bills general manager Russ Brandon had previously said the team had no interest in pursuing Vick "at this time," when repeatedly asked of the team's interest this offseason. The Bills on Monday declined to discuss Dungy's remarks by noting Vick is a member of the Eagles. NFL tampering rules prevent teams from discussing players under contract to other teams. That didn't stop Whitner from sharing his thoughts on Vick, who is being used sparingly in Philadelphia. Vick has completed 2 of 6 passes for 6 yards and rushed 12 times for 27 yards, mostly out of the wildcat formation. Whitner was confident Vick will be better next season with a full offseason to prepare. "The team that gets him is going to pick up on a good player," Whitner said. "And I believe if we have the opportunity, I believe it'll be a good pickup for us." The Bills have struggled on offense this season no matter who's started. Edwards opened his second full season as the starter by going 1-3 before he was knocked out by a concussion in a 16-13 overtime win at the New York Jets on Oct. 18. Fitzpatrick rallied the Bills to beat the Jets and then went 1-1 in two starts. Edwards has one more year left on his contract, while Fitzpatrick signed a three-year deal in free agency this past offseason. The Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999, and have had a revolving door at quarterback - going through nine starters - since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired following the 1996 season. Receiver Lee Evans said he's a fan of Vick, but referred to Dungy's comments as speculation. "I don't think it'll be anything we'll aggressively go after," Evans said.

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